Saturday, August 09, 2008

New avenues to bribe the police

The Associated Press (AP) is respected worldwide however, it reports that the blare of reggae and calypso music may soon disappear from the buses and taxis of Guyana.

After reading the article, we questioned some of our friends and even family as to the sweet sounds of calypso being played on public transportation.

The answer was a resounding NO!

We may be close to the Caribbean Sea which touches so many small islands where calypso and soca is dominant, but the moral fabric in Guyana is being washed away daily and as such we cling to the lewd dancehall genre popping straight out of Jamaica.

Vybz Kartel and Movado are dominating public transportation sound systems, but those are mixed with a tinge of conscious reggae that epitomizes the day-to-day economic and social struggles of numerous Guyanese.

The new bill which is yet to be enacted is worthless and meaningless in the Guyana context - a country plauged by corruption. This is a difficult and thorny problem that is unfortunately an omnipresent reality in many developing countries.

Corruption does not have a fixed character – it can change over time. Corrupt countries can show improvement, ‘clean’ countries can spiral downwards. This is the conclusion of Harry Seldadyo Gunardi, whose PhD research investigated worldwide corruption and administration. Gunardi who studied Economics of Development at the Institute of Social Studies in The Hague, also states that good or bad administration is generally regionally determined – the quality of the administration in neighbouring countries influences that in the country at issue.

Apart from sharing borders with Venezuela and Suriname, Guyana has not shifted its standing when it comes to corruption. How does this all fit in with the passage of new laws to govern music in public transportation? The fact remains that wanton corruption continues within the police force. Traffic cops continue to accept bribes and the drivers who continue to feed the cops between $1000 and $5000 (depending on the offence) are also guilty of the malpractice.

Because the Government has failed to at least look uncorruptable, servants of the state have adopted the general belief that corruption is acceptable. Hence, increasing fines for traffic offences, will likely create more avenues for corrpution. This means that a driver would prefer pay a bribe than risk being hauled infront a magistrate and being forced to pay a hefty $15,000 fine.

We have no doubt that the members of the august House of Assembly had good intentions when they emabrked on passing legislation to tackle loud music. A closer look of the problem is warranted.

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